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WOMEN'S WORLD CUP

FOOTBALL

Germany gear up for France quarter final

Germany take on France on Friday in the quarter finals of the Women's World Cup in Canada, but are trying to shirk off the 'favourite' tag.

Germany gear up for France quarter final
Photo: DPA

“Who says Germany are better than France?” said a surprised Silvia Neid, Germany's head coach, when asked about her side's status as favourites.

“I did not say that, it will on depend how the team is on the given day whether we are better than France.”

And Neid admitted that the German side that beat Brazil in the 2007 final would not win the title in 2015.

“Women's soccer has made quite a development since, the team from 2007 would not win today and even second or third place wouldn't get that place today.

“Players play harder, are more skilled and better trained, games are faster. We have followed this trend in women's soccer and now have these skills.”

France have the advantage of having played their last 16 victory over South Korea in Montreal while for the Germans it will their first time in the roofed Olympic Stadium.

The French can also count on support from the crowd in the largely French-speaking city.

“It's a different feeling, we don't have this in Germany that you play inside in the summer,” said Neid.

“I'm surprised a roof like this can't be opened in the summer. It will be different for us.

“We also know the French fans will be there in force, they will be singing, they will be very loud, we cannot be distracted by that.
“We just have to play our game hoping we manage to score an early goal.”

Germany have scored 19 goals in four games — albeit 10 of those came against African minnows Ivory Coast — and have not lost a game so far although they were pushed to a 1-1 draw by former champions Norway.

France by contrast have won three games but were shocked 2-0 by Colombia in their second group match.

And Bouhaddi will have her work cut out faced with a strike force duo of Celia Sasic and Anja Mittag, who have scored five each so far.

'We are better'

France coach Philippe Bergeroo could be preparing his side for a military campaign.

“They need to be ready for physical combat, they need to be focussed on detail and to have no regrets at the end,” said Bergeroo at the team's pre-match press conference.

“A steamroller, it's true Germany will exert huge physical pressure. We have other qualities but in the first 20 minutes we'll have to be very present in the duels,” he continued.

“We're playing against the team that is classed first in FIFA so we are the outsiders but we have a lot of ambition for that game.”

France will be bidding to pull off the greatest exploits in their history in Montreal's domed Olympic Stadium.

If the French want to lift their first title on July 5 in Vancouver they have to beat the best and Germany are the best.

Champions in 2003 and 2007, eight-time European champions, Neid's side have what it takes to scare 'les Bleues' and have for a long time.

“I remember when I was 17 years old. You lost 3-0, didn't get a touch on the ball and returned home. They were really physically a class above the rest,” recalled forward Eugenie Le Sommer.

But today, despite having never won an official match against their “best enemies,” as defender Griedge Mbock Bathy terms the Germans, France believe they are equals.

“Germany doesn't scare us anymore,” said Le Sommer.

Goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi goes even further: “There is no feeling of inferiority. Very sincerely I think that we are better.”

“They have a cabinet full of trophies and we've nothing. The balance of power is quickly summed up. As it stands we have two draws and a win,” said Mbock Bathy.

But captain Wendie Renard was quick to point out a 2-0 friendly win in Offenbach does not compare to the world stage.

“We're off to a good start but we have to make it gel now, it's one thing to win friendly games but this is a different context.”

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FOOTBALL

British football teams allowed to skip Germany’s quarantine for Euro 2020

Germany's government announced on Tuesday it will allow England, Scotland and Wales to enter the country without quarantine to play at Euro 2020 despite a recent rise in cases linked to the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Britain.

British football teams allowed to skip Germany's quarantine for Euro 2020
One of the venues for Euro 2020 is in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The three teams could potentially reach the quarter-final held in Munich on July 2nd.

If that were the case, they would be exempt from the rule that travellers from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland must currently observe a 14-day isolation period due to the virus strain of concern – Delta – first identified in India.

“The people accredited for the European football Championship are exempt from the quarantine obligation, even after arriving from an area impacted by a variant” Berlin said in a statement.

“This exemption concerns all the people who have been accredited by the organising committee for the preparation, participation, the holding and the follow-up of international sporting events,” it added.

The exemption does not include fans, who will be obliged to follow German government self-isolation rules.

Germany declared the UK a ‘virus variant area of concern’ on May 23rd due to rising cases linked to the Delta variant in parts of the country. 

READ ALSO: Germany makes UK ‘virus variant area of concern’: How does it affect you?

This reclassification came just seven days after the UK was put back on Germany’s list at the lowest risk level, and barely a month after it was taken off all risk lists completely.

The ban was put in place despite the UK’s relatively low Covid rates as a precautionary measure.

A general ban on entry is in place for people coming from countries on the ‘virus variant’ list – such as India and Brazil – the highest of Germany’s risk categories. 

There are some exceptions for entering from these countries – for example German residents and citizens. However, anyone who does enter from Germany is required to submit a Covid-19 test before boarding the flight and must quarantine for 14 days on arrival, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

READ ALSO: Germany’s new relaxed quarantine and testing rules after travel

Euro 2020 starts on Friday as Italy host Turkey in Rome with the Bavarian city hosting three group games as well as the last-eight match.

Around 14,000 fans will be allowed into the Allianz Arena for the fixtures.

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